From the monthly archives: "May 2008"

Hoping you can help us to identify this bug. We were having a memorial day cookout, and someone almost stepped on it – looks to me like a type of cockroach, or maybe some flavor of click beetle, but I cannot figure it out for sure. Thanks for any tips/help 🙂 Seemed to have 2 sets of wings, with a leathery covering, and it would “bob” it’s head while we were checking it out. It was approximately 3-4 inches long.

Electric Light Bug
Unknown Beetle
We found this beetle on our deck. We have never seen one like this before and was wondering if we can let it go or if it is a hazard to this area. We live in Kitchener, Ontario Canada Thankyou
Dave Crawford

Dear Dan and Dave,
After receiving numerous requests for the identification of the Giant Water Bug, Lethocerus americanus, in the past week, we decided to make it the featured Bug of the Month for June 2008. We get requests for the identification of Giant Water Bugs throughout the year from around the world, including many from our forces in Iraq. We are writing this posting on Memorial Day, and can only hope that our letters from Iraq begin to taper off as our troops return home. It should be noted that letters sent to us from other places in the world are different species, but all Giant Water Bugs look very similar. In Thailand, where they grow very large, they are eaten, so you can find entries on them on our Edible Insect pages. One other common name for the Giant Water Bug is Electric Light Bug because they are attracted, sometimes in great numbers, to lights. They have been known to decend in swarms to outdoor sporting events and brightly lit parking lots. The common name Toe-Biter has just fallen out of favor with us after we were chastised by a reader for saying that the bite of the Giant Water Bug (and its relative the Water Scorpion) is painful. The bite is painful, but these insects only bite human occasionally. Equally streamlined in the water and in the air, the Giant Water Bug is quite clumsy on land.

Can you identify these?
They showed up in our neighborhood about 4 years ago, and are prolific breeders. Their young resemble “large” aphids with orange-ish red abdomens. The adults have the same orange/red abdomen that is exposed when they take flight. In the picture attached, I believe the smaller one (on the left) is the male mating with a female. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Ron,
The Boxelder Bug, Boisea trivittata, is one of our most frequent query subjects due to the mass aggregations they form. Though they may be a nuisance when they appear in large numbers, they are not harmful to you or your home. Your mating couple is a nice addition to our site.

Hi! Can you tell me what these two moths are?
Adams Lake, B.C. Canada May 24th 2008

Small Eyed Sphinx Snowberry Sphinx

Hi Kathy,
Both of your moths are Sphinx Moths. The brown one with the undulating patterns is a Small Eyed Sphinx, Paonias myops, and you can find out more about it on Bill Oehlke’s wonderful website. We believe your second gray moth is a Snowberry Sphinx, Sphinx vashti, but it might also be the similar looking Elegant Sphinx, Sphinx perelegans. We will try to contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can conclusively identify it.

Update: (05/25/2008)
Hi Daniel,
It is Sphinx vashti, Can you please ask Kathy to contact me as I would like permission to use images with credit to her. … Thanks for the referals to my site and kind words.
Bill Oehlke

Hummingbird moth?
Can you tell me what kind of moth this is? I’ve been calling it a hummingbird moth, but I’d like to know for sure. I took these pics on May 28 last year, when I spotted this beautiful moth on my lilacs. We live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s the first and only time I’ve seen one! Thanks!
Daryl Ann Anderson
Alston, Michigan

hi Daryl,
This appears to be Hemaris diffinis, the Snowberry Clearwing or Bumblebee Moth.

Solpugid gives you his Thanks!
Just wanted to let you know I am so very thankful for your site. As a newly single mom of 3 kids I have now taken over the BUG duties. My kitten found this guy in the house tonight, and not wanting to kill something I didn’t know about I caught it and took it outside where I took this picture. Thank goodness I found your site and now know what this solpugid is. I am relieved to know I didn’t harm a great hunter, no matter how ugly it is! He will now help get rid of some more of the undesirables in the neighborhood! LOL! Like a personal bodyguard against the bad bugs! He could intimidate me!! Thanks again!
Mesa Arizona

Hi Jennie,
We must say that we qre quite impressed you possessed the wherewithall to research the identity of your Solpugid after discovering it in your home, but before doing it harm. It is quite intimidating looking and most people would kill first and question later. We are so happy we could be of service to you and your Solpugid, also known as a Sun Spider or Wind Scorpion. As you have indicated, they are fierce and fearless hunters, but thankfully, we humans, due to our size, are not on their menu. Woe the day that big government harnesses the gram per gram hunting potential of Solpugids and unleashes it as a weapon of mass destruction.

Gray Insect on a Citrus Leaf
I was examining the fruits of my bitter orange citrus tree in Miami, Florida when I found this gray insect on one of the leaves. I suspect it’s some type of beetle. Can you please identify the insect? Also, do you happen to know what those white and brown streaks on the leaf are and whether or not they were produced by the insect?

Hi Rob,
Your gray insect is a Sri Lanka Weevil,
Myllocerus undecimpustulatus, an invasive species from Sri Lanka that feeds on at least 55 plant species in Florida including citrus. Read more on BugGuide and the Featured Creatures site. You have another problem with your citrus. Beneath the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil are what appear to be tunnels produced by the Citrus Leaf Miner, Phyllocnistis citrella, a tiny moth, and according to BugGuide:  “Native to Asia; first found in Florida in 1993. Now found all over the world.”

Thank you for all the information! I thought that perhaps the weevil was responsible for the tunnels on the leaf; thanks for clarifying that a citrus leaf miner was the true culprit. My citrus tree has been left unattended for quite some time, so it has become home to various insects.